I’ve been watching the weather, waiting for these beauties to come into full bloom, and Monday was the day to go and catch the cherry blossoms in all of their glory. (Weekends are absolutely insane trying to get anywhere near the Tidal Basin during peak cherry blossom bloom time, unless you go really early in the morning). The blossoms are a fleeting phenomena, there are actually websites that predict peak blooming times, and they are magnificent to see. Winds and thunderstorms are the blossoms worst enemies, have been known to sweep away all of these beautiful blooms in an instant. Mid-April is so late for the cherry blossoms, but since we had another harsh winter, and everything seems to be blooming about a month behind schedule, it’s only fitting that the cherry blossoms also took their time making their appearance.
In 1912, Japan gave the United States a gift of 3,000 cherry trees as a demonstration of friendship between the two countries. On March 27, 1912, two of the trees were planted in a simple ceremony by Helen Herron Taft and the Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese Ambassador, on the northern bank of the Tidal Basin, about 125 feet south of what is now Independence Avenue, SW. Those two trees remain standing today, and there is a statute commemorating the ceremony. The remaining trees were planted around the tidal basin. You can read about the gift of the trees here.
My Mom also has a bunch of photos of the cherry blossoms of her co-workers when she worked downtown. They would come to see the blossoms just like everyone does now. The only difference was everyone seriously dressed much nicer back in the day. I did see a lot of office workers dressed up in their business attire walking around the Tidal Basin on their lunch hour. I would also venture down on my lunch hour when I worked downtown to pay my tribute to these beautiful blooms. They really are breathtaking, and the photos just don’t do them their proper justice.
Even though it was Monday, the Tidal Basin was still packed with tourists. I feel so fortunate to live near a city with so many free attractions, such as access to the Tidal Basin, the Smithsonian museums, the National Gallery of Art to name a few.
It doesn’t have the bright lights, pop and pizzazz of New York City, but it what it does have is a quaint small city charm all its own.
And that’s why it’s my favorite city.